After an unexpectedly long cryogenic nap, you find yourself to be the last human on Earth. Congratulations. Unfortunately, as the last human, you find yourself stuck between two sects of highly advanced robots that now inhabit the earth. One side wants to help you, and the other wants to reduce you to ash. Welcome to Regenesis Arcade.
Let me just say, I am a huge fan of arcade style games, especially when they don’t claim to be anything more. The short pickup time and low story elements are not for everyone, and wave shooters are a dime a dozen. However, a solid arcade game is an awesome way to break up those long and involved gaming sessions, or a quick way to just get your kill on when you have a spare moment. So, let’s take a look at Regenesis Arcade and see if it makes the cut.
At its core, this is a simple arcade wave shooter. You find yourself facing off against a wide range of robotic enemies that attack in waves. As the waves progress, the level of difficulty increases and eventually, you die. So, what’s the point? Fun, and that beautiful high score slot, of course.
You won’t find any engaging story elements or complex gameplay in this one. You get a gun that can fire in three modes, and a shield that can also turn into a gravity gun. Aside from that, you fight waves of robots in a predefined play area that you can teleport around in. Simple, right?
You can dive right into the action from the main menu, or you can opt in for a tutorial that will break down the basics for you. It is worth checking out for the sake of learning how to use the gravity gun as it can be a little tricky to pick up. If you remember the grav gun in HL2, you should have a leg up though.
Lite Vs. Deluxe
Regenesis Arcade comes in two flavors, lite and deluxe. The lite game is free and available on Steam, right now. It will let you play through the tutorial and give you the overall flavor of the game. If you are on the fence about this type of game, this no risk option is pretty sweet. You won’t have all the perks and content, but it’s freaking free.
The deluxe version offers more maps, powerups, weapon perks, and access to the leaderboards and global ranking. It will run you $9.99 on Steam, but the amount of content does make a difference to the way the game plays in arcade mode, so that is what I am looking at today. Hyperbook Studios also has a commercial license available on Steam, for all you VR arcade owners.
Let’s Talk Guns
A shotgun, rail gun, and submachine gun, all in one convenient package. Your primary weapon can be any of those three types on demand, and you can even dual wield if you prefer. Your secondary weapon is your shield that can transform into a gravity gun on demand, and you can dual wield that as well. The switch is a simple key bind and changing to dual wield is done by reaching up over your shoulder.
The guns each feel unique and have a decent level of gratifying feedback. But, what really makes them shine is the weapon perks. As you progress in the game, you will unlock weapon perks that can alter all of your available weapons, in different ways. This does a great job of allowing the player a way to cater to their playstyle. If your more of a spray and pray, you can increase capacity and rate of fire of your sub. If you enjoy that shotgun action, how about a perk that has a chance to stun a hit target?
While you take out enemies during a wave, you might also see powerup icons appear. You just shoot them to activate and, depending on the powerup, the effect kicks in. These definitely add some flavor to the game, and can even change the outcome of a wave from time to time. In true arcade fashion, they are completely random, so don’t bank on a powerup. They can increase your rate of fire, call in a turret to help aid you in combat, or even destroy everything on screen.
The enemies in an arcade shooter are what make the game, in my opinion. That is one area that Regenesis Arcade has managed to excel in. You will be up against fast moving bots that like to snipe at you, slower ones that fire huge blasts of crazy colored energy balls, and even little spiders. Those little bastards can explode when they get near you, or, stun you with an electric shock. Every type is color coded, but I won’t spoil that discovery processes for you here.
At the end of each level, you will go up against a boss. If that isn’t bad enough, it is usually accompanied by a wave of bots. The fight mechanics are not super difficult and the fights seem to rely on numbers overwhelming you, rather than engaging tactics. Don’t get me wrong, the fights are fun, but they could have been way more gratifying with longer, one on one style gameplay.
So, how does Regenesis Arcade differ from similar shooters? The bots AI. These little demons don’t just fly in and stay in one spot. They try to get behind you, they will divide up into groups and surround you, they even try to dodge your fire. Best of all, it all feels natural and balanced. When I died, it wasn’t because of reasons out of my control, but rather my own reflexes slipping up. That is proper arcade action.
As I mentioned earlier, you get six levels in the deluxe version of Regenesis Arcade. That is a bit misleading however. You actually get three, each with a night and day version. It’s not a big deal as the levels are really only backdrops for the action. You will have various debris scattered throughout each level that you can use with your gravity gun, but aside from that, it’s just eye candy.
It would have been nice to see a little more come into play with the level design. I tried to use the level items as much as possible, but they felt pretty useless in the end. I even tried to build up a wall with the items, which would have been awesome, but the physics made that a difficult endeavor. The game is designed to keep you moving, so I can’t really call this a negative.
The Shine of the Bot
Graphically, everything looks solid. It is definitely not as flashy as many arcade games but it sticks to its theme throughout. I expected more robust explosions or crazy laser beams but the game really didn’t go that route. It was solid, but also a little underwhelming at times as well. The background never really has anything going on and with the level design the way it is, everything can feel a little dull at times.
The sounds are good but nothing really stands out from other games in this area. Even the music for each stage is a little underwhelming. I was expecting something that pushed that since of urgency and impending doom when a boss fight kicked in, but it didn’t deliver. This is one area of the game that I hope gets some TLC before exiting early access.
Unfortunately, we have another game that only supports one type of locomotion. While the teleport does work as intended, it can be a pain to get the hang of. You have to manage your direction while you teleport, and when you have a dozen bots flying around you, it can be overwhelming. The design decision is probably a safe one as this is an arcade game and no one wants to clean that up. However, players at home would greatly appreciate smooth locomotion support.
The rest of the controls are fairly straightforward as all the functions are bound to key commands, aside from reaching over your shoulder to change to dual wielding. The only other motion control is the use of physics in relation to your gravity gun. If you can swing a hammer, you’re golden.
So, in a world of endless VR wave shooters, how does Regenesis Arcade stack up? In my opinion, the well-designed AI, and deluxe versions added content, make this an easy buy for me. The game makes no promises to deliver anything but an arcade wave shooter experience and it manages to do so better than similar games of its price point.
From the start, you can tell this game is designed to sink quarters into at your local arcade. It is super easy to pick up and play, goes the safe route in locomotion, and focuses on the action. For $9.99, you can pick up Regenesis Arcade Deluxe for the Vive, Rift, and WMR headsets. Try it out before you buy it for free, and if you see it in your local arcade, don’t be afraid to sink a few for some quick fun.
Title: Regenesis Arcade Deluxe
Genre: Arcade/Wave Shooter
Developer: Hyperbook Studios
Release Date: December 18, 2017 (Early Access)